TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) — U.S. authorities began working Tuesday on Mexican soil for the first time to inspect trucks bound from Tijuana to the United States as part of a new enforcement program intended to reduce congestion and speed cargo across one of the nation’s busiest border crossings.
The joint inspections by U.S. and Mexican officials were launched after Mexican lawmakers overcame resistance and approved changes to the country’s firearms law to permit foreign customs and immigration officials to be armed on the job.
“The benefit is very simple — avoid double inspection,” Mexican Treasury Secretary Luis Videgaray said at the joint facility in Tijuana’s Mesa de Otay section, a few blocks from the crossing.
The impact was difficult to gauge as U.S. and Mexican officials marked the occasion by letting a shipment of strawberries head to San Diego.
Trial runs last week cut waiting times in half, said Arazeli Penilla, compliance officer at Driscoll Strawberry Associates Inc.